With school aged children, it’s essential to continue establishing and reinforce healthy eating habits. Getting children involved with meal planning and food preparation can help foster interest in healthy eating.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that children ages 4 to 8 consume 1200 to 1400 calories per day, that 9 to 13 year old girls consume 1600 calories, that 9 to 14 year old boys consume 1800 calories, that 14 to 18 year old girls consume 1800 calories and that 14 to 18 year old boys consume 2200 calories per day. Active children may require more calories. These calorie needs can be met by offering school aged children three nutritious meals and a few nutritious snacks throughout the day.
Making nutritious snacks accessible can promote healthy snacking. Set aside a bin in the fridge for fresh fruits and veggies, cheeses and other nutritious snacks that the children can choose from when they are hungry. Giving children the ability to choose what they eat from appropriate choices can help contribute to establishing healthy eating habits.
In 2015, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new policy that encourages school and families to take a broader approach to nutrition. This approach focuses on the overall whole diet of the children, rather than specific nutrients like fats and sugars from individual foods.
The policy also encourages a five step approach for packed lunches and food for social events. These steps include:
Selecting a mix of foods from the five food groups
Offering a variety of food experiences.
Avoiding highly processed foods.
Using small amounts of sugar, salt, fats and oils with highly nutritious foods to enhance enjoyment and consumption.
Offering appropriate portions.
School aged children with good judgment can begin to prepare simple foods independently with supervision. Nannies should always supervise children when they are using sharp kitchen tools, cooking on the stovetop or using the oven. Growing your own vegetables, going grocery shopping together and visiting a local farmer’s market are ways nannies can spark an interest about healthy eating in children.